North Carolina authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect accused of fatally shooting a Pennsylvania woman in a highway “road rage incident” last week while she and her husband were on their way to a beach vacation.
The suspect allegedly rolled down a window and fired several rounds into the passenger door of another vehicle before Exit 22 on I-95, just north of Lumberton, North Carolina, around 11:40 a.m. Thursday. One round struck 47-year-old Julie Eberly, a mother of six children from Manheim, Pennsylvania, who was transported to Southeastern Regional Medical Center, where she later died, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said. Her husband, Ryan Eberly, was not injured.
“This was an innocent family from Pennsylvania headed to the beach for a vacation,” Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said in an initial statement Thursday. “Thankfully they had left their six children at home with grandparents but now these kids have to live with the thought of their mother being murdered on in such a cowardly and senseless way. My heart goes out to this family and I ask that everyone reading this stop and pray for this entire family.”
The sheriff’s office declined to provide an update to Fox News on Sunday.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division is leading the investigation and continues to seek video footage or eyewitness accounts of the road rage incident that occurred between the 23 and 25 marker along I-95 South.
A preliminary investigation revealed that a “road rage encounter unknowingly developed” when the victims’ vehicle came too close to the suspect’s vehicle while trying to merge into another lane, the sheriff’s office said in its initial press release Thursday. The suspect – so far identified by authorities only as an African American with dreadlocks – then pulled his vehicle along the victim’s passenger side, rolled down the window and fired multiple shots into the passenger door.
Witnesses told investigators the suspect sped off and exited at Exit 22, crossing over the bridge coming into Lumberton. The victims’ vehicle pulled over on I-95 awaiting assistance. Lumberton Police, Robeson County Sheriff’s Deputies, North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troopers and EMS responded to the scene. The suspect’s vehicle is described as a possible 2010 model Chevrolet Malibu or Impala, silver or grey in color with tinted windows and possibly with chrome around the window frame.
In an update provided Friday, the sheriff’s office said a Robeson County resident “who wishes to remain anonymous” came forward to offer the $10,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
“While we hope that anyone with information in this case would come forward, this provided incentive should be cause to do so even more,” Wilkins said in another statement Friday. “I appreciate the resident coming forth with this reward.” Anyone with information is asked to call 910-671-3170 or email [email protected].”
Hundreds of people had emailed or texted the sheriff’s office wishing to assist Eberly’s family, Wilkins said. The sheriff’s office used its official Facebook page to share a link to the family’s GoFundMe page.
“We contacted the family with your care and concerns and have advised them of your offerings. Please see the attached Go Fund Me link if you wish to help. I really appreciate everyone that has reached out to me and continue to ask for your prayers for this family. Please share.”
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